There are a couple of 2023 Oscar nominated films I could only ever watch once. I saw them, experienced the emotions the actors put the audience through and felt rather depressed and oppressed after two hours plus staring at the screen. Afterwards, I felt like I needed some joy in my life. I'm a cinephile and can endure a three hour Russian drama at 8am but after Tar or the miserable Blonde (Nominated for Best Actress but the Razzies' most-nominated film this year), my emotions were exhausted.
Speaking to Wallethub- which today released its 2023 Oscars Facts report - Associate Professor at Pace University, Michelle M. Pulaski Behling commented, “The Academy already has a problem with lack of relevance, often nominating films the general population has not seen."
This problem is compounded by the lack of diversity in Hollywood, in general, and in the Academy Award nominees, specifically.
Even though this year’s nominees do have diverse representation in major categories including Asian legend Michelle Yeoh who is in her 60's, or the beautiful Angela Basset, nominated for best Supporting Actress.The 2015 hashtag, #OscarsSoWhite, has resurfaced.
Critics point specifically to the snubs of Viola Davis in The Woman King and Jordan Peele’s Nope as evidence the Academy continues to disregard diverse talent. The Woman King grossed almost $100 million in U.S. box office and The American Film Institute named it one of the year’s 10 best movies. However, the movie and Viola Davis powerful performance were overlooked.
Unsurprisingly, The Academy's process came under fire with the grassroots effort behind Andrea Riseborough’s performance in the indie drama ‘To Leslie’, which barely made $31 thousand in the box office, in other words, no-one has seen this movie except friends , family and some film festival goers including myself.
"some may argue that the role of Riseborough’s connections in securing her nomination was unfair, but the Academy’s review of the process showed no rules were broken. It will be interesting to see whether the nomination system will change next year as a result,” says Professor Behling.
The professor claims the Academy does not reflect the diversity of the population at large and that there are rumblings in the industry about the disappearance of the Oscars. "I do not think we are there yet, but major changes must occur to ensure the future of the Academy. Public interest may be waning, but winning an Oscar is still the pinnacle of Hollywood success and all populations should have a chance to be included.”
Just like Viola Davis, African-American actress Danielle Deadwyler , who was also considered a best actress nominee lock for her excellent performance as Mamie Till-Mobley in Till, was excluded from the Best Actress list. There was speculation that Andrea Riseborough nomination who had the support of mainly white Hollywood darlings including Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Aniston, Charlize Theron, or Courteney Cox, pushed out the deserving Danielle Deadwyler or Viola Davis.
On the other hand, a box office favourite, Top Gun: Maverick did receive 6 Academy Award nominations including visual effects, sound, original song, film editing, adapted screenplay and best picture but Tom Cruise acting was left out despite his extraordinary work.
Gabriel Rossman Ph.D. Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles told WalletHub, “It is a completely transparent process that is administered fairly. Basically, every theatrically released film is eligible and every academy member can nominate, with some narrow exceptions for obscure categories. Complaints tend to be about: 1. Oscar campaigning. 2. AMPAS membership. This is equivalent to complaining in regular elections about campaign finance and voter eligibility rules."
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